Full backs: Lahm, Rafinha, Contento, Köz
Lucky for us, that despite not having a star central defender, we have one world class full back that goes above and beyond the likes of Alves and Cole.
We have struggled to fill the left back spot ever since Sagnol retired and Lahm switched flanks. Badstuber and Contento have tried. Badstuber was the short-term solution, and Contento isn’t quite ready to be the long term solution. Heynckes prefers Lahm on the left, and, with our signings, will play there for the next few years. Lahm is world class on both flanks, has an incredible amount of experience for his relatively young age (and looks!), and he is the most reliable player on FC Bayern Munich. It’s never a question of injury, or if he’ll start one match over the other, he is always there. The rock of our defense. If everything looks gloom and doom, you can expect the captain to come in and save the game. With last minute goals, or slide tackles, he is the key to our defense.
This solves one problem, but opens up one on the other side of the pitch. Right-back. Sagnol, Lahm - now who? Rafinha. I’m not well-versed in Serie A or Schalke 04 games to make a proper judgement of the Brazilian, but watching the few friendlies he has played in, he is turning in to a mirror image of our captain. He’s small, fast, he can track back quickly (easily covering for one of our slower center backs), and he comes forward often. The best part is his hunger to play and succeed with Bayern. Saying he’s the best one to fill our right back spot? Time will tell.
So what about Contento and Köz?
Out of everyone on the reserve squad, Köz definitely has the most potential. He started training with the first team shortly after the end of the season, and has picked up once again this summer. He can play anywhere along the defensive line, but has featured mainly at RB, in for a sick Rafinha, and in the center back rotation. He does not have a pro contract as of yet, but he is being featured due to his potential and the esteem Jupp and company are showing in him, by bringing him along to friendlies and in first team training. He is incredibly young, and he seems to have a heavy touch, and isn’t as smooth getting forward as Rafinha or Lahm, but who is to say he can’t learn? Letting him train with more experienced full backs will ultimately benefit his game and the future of Bayern.
Contento. He should probably be sent out on loan in the next few months due to Lahm being first choice, but his potential shines whenever he plays. He has had quite a few injury problems, but hopefully he is not as glass-like as his partners up front. He plays some beautiful crosses in to the box, and has made quite a few nice tackles. His challenge is to buck up defensively and give Lahm a run for his money.
So maybe it was a good thing we didn’t shell out 30 million for the likes of Coentrao. Our fullbacks are incredibly reliable, and we have some really good options for the future. The struggle is turning them all in to a cohesive unit, which will be addressed tomorrow, when we look at our goalkeeper and defensive line as a whole.